Laguna Canyon Foundation, Willow Staging Area: Gardening in the Wilderness 101

As we mentioned last week, we planned to participate in a Laguna Canyon Foundation service at the Willow Staging Area on Jan. 11. We arrived there today at around 8:00 am. The working place had a nursery shed(left image) and was connected to the parking lot. I think the organization was quite credible, experienced with clear orders and instruction. All volunteers were given tools and tasks. We raked leaves out of the graveled path, washed planters, collected native plants’ stems and planted them.

The highlight of this volunteer was a lecture about planting native species. Vegetation around the shed was the work done by Laguna Canyon Foundation since 2004. The staff guided us to a cluster of California wild roses by the shed and passed us diluted bleach(to sterilize nippers each time after used to prevent diseases spreading among plants) and nippers. He asked what the key condition was to stimulate the stem to clone and grow. The answer was “darkness.” (I got that right. Biology Let’s go✋) Then, he cut a stem off, left about 20cm from the ground, cut off the shoot to leave 5-6 buds on the actually usable stem. Lastly, he nipped a couple lime, waxy, healthy buds so that the stem could focus on growing roots and shoots.

He led us to do stem cutting propagation on different types of native plants, which was a great learning experience and beneficial to the environment as it increased the steak of native plants to win in the competition with other invasive plants. One thing we need to be careful is not to over-clone one plant, since the genetic pool needs diversity. In the past years, species we collected today typically grow into saplings around February or March, and have 70-80% chance to survive.

Standing in the shade under these native trees, I felt the satisfaction of giving something back to nature just as a high school student.

Here’s the link to the organization:

PS: I really enjoyed the volunteer especially with a misty mountain right behind the service area. That was a refreshing view. We hiked in the Willow Staging Area right after the service. Highly recommended 😉

YS Ding. Jan, 2020.

pps: The park has to make this rock its mascot😂 it’s mesmerizing Lol

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